Monday, February 10, 2014

Bye Bye Bradford

We finally made the decision to have the three Bradford Pears (Pyrus calleryana) that have lined our driveway for almost 27 years removed.

Bradford Pear 1/23/14
2/5/14 Bradford, goodbye

Bradford Pears were widely planted when our neighborhood was developed in the 1980's.  Developers and landscapers thought they would be a perfect tree in the suburban yard. And they do have some very good features which made saying goodbye difficult.

The Bradford Pears are one of the first trees to bloom in the spring, with their fluffy white flowers, and the brilliant red, orange, and yellow of the fall foliage is beautiful. The shiny dark green leaves in summer are also very attractive. In addition, they are fast growers, growing in full sun, are drought tolerant, and do well in most soils. They are very happy in zones 4 through 9.

Flowering Bradford Pear/Pyrus Calleryana 3/12/12



Unfortunately the Bradford Pear has a few faults that we could no longer tolerate. The small cherry like inedible fruits and hard shells seemed to constantly litter the driveway.  I feared someday slipping on the debris while walking to the mailbox.

Then there was the mistletoe. The Bradford Pears in our neighborhood became host plants, with help from the birds, for mistletoe. Mr S was diligent about keeping it pruned out of our trees, but it was an ongoing battle. Many homeowners who were not so diligent have had their trees killed by a mistletoe infestation. Below is a photo of an infested tree in a nearby neighborhood. The green is mistletoe.


Apparently the trees are prone to breakage in heavy winds, although we never had that problem. Nor did we find them to be invasive in our yard, although I understand they are highly invasive in some areas. No, it was just the mistletoe and the mess that convinced us that it was time to say goodbye.  The Bradford Pear is a short lived tree, usually only about 25 years, so they had already exceeded their life span.

They seem to be blooming earlier than usual this year, probably due to the mild winter. Everywhere I look I see clouds of white. But I suppose now I will have to enjoy those fluffy white flowers in other peoples' yards!

We said goodbye to the dry spell (at least for now) with over ½ inch of rain on the 30th, which ended a record 54 days without rain, and then almost an inch of rain fell on the 6th, and there was snow fall in the mountains, too! Although it will not catch us up to normal, every bit helps.

Thursday's rain

12 comments:

  1. Hi Dorothy, it must feel good to have made the decision to remove the Bradford Pears. Or maybe I should say, I would feel good, when I have made a big decision like this! The tree looked beautiful when in bloom, but as you said, besides the mistletoe infestation and the mess it made, it was at the end of its life span, anyways.
    I think, we got less rain than you did, but at least the dust got washed of the plants. The morning after the rain, the garden looked so fresh and incredible green and lush, it was just beautiful. Wishing you a nice week!
    Christina

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    1. Hi Christina, I do miss the Bradford blooms, but the Saucer Magnolia is just now budding out so we still get to enjoy those spring time blooms. Hopefully your area will get more rain with the next storm. The weather report is predicting more rain for next week. Wishing you a nice week as well!

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  2. I think it's a good decision. Those trees have really bloomed early in Bakersfield too. Boy, those blooms sure stink. Another good reason to get rid of it. Do you have any experience with a chaste tree? I'm considering a chaste tree and an Oklahoma red bud for my landscape.

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    1. Hi Maybelline, I've lost my sense of smell so I guess that's an advantage that I can't smell the Bradfords! I've seen the chaste tree and have heard good things about it. Also good things about the red bud, not sure which type of red bud. I think I see them growing along the freeway. We are seriously thinking about getting one to put in the area where we had a white birch that had borers and had to be cut down.

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  3. I don't blame you in the least. You can find things so much better if you choose to have them.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Hi Cher, You are right. I think we are in the market for a redbud but will need to do a little more research so that we get the right one. "Right plant. Right place."

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  4. A wise decision, Dorothy, although I find it difficult to part with any plant. There is a limit, however, to how many problems we can tolerate. Bradford pear is invasive here, so I don't have any. I am amazed how long yours lived. P. x

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    1. Hi Pam, Bradford Pears certainly have a bad reputation these days. Maybe they should be called "Badford Pears"! I hope the weather is not too severe in your part of the country. Have a good day!

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  5. Didn't realize mistletoe was like that, but what do I know about mistletoe. It's for kissing under and that's about it :) I have to agree about the leaves in fall on the Bradford Pear. They are gorgeous,BUT I do have to dig them out of my yard every year thanks to the neighbors tree next door. We see lots of split Bradford's every year after a storm, if they haven't been pruned correctly while maturing. Wow! Blooming trees. We're still in the middle of winter here in Nashville.

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    1. Some of the trees have so much mistletoe that there is more mistletoe than leaves! Then the birds eat the mistletoe berries and make their deposits in other trees and soon more trees are infested. It's a vicious cycle! The Bradfords are early bloomers around here. I noticed yesterday that the bees are really loving those blossoms!

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  6. I am so glad it rained!! Bradford pears are pretty but there are other, less problem trees out there. Are you going to replace it?

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    1. Hi Tammy, We were so happy about last week's rain, and the forecast is for possible rain tomorrow. We need every drop! We won't plant any more tree in the driveway area as the neighbor's have trees and shrubs that have encroached on that space. But we do have an area that we were thinking of planting a redbud but don't want to plant when we are having drought conditions. But trees are certainly needed for shade during our intense summer heat!

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